2019 NBA Draft: Did Atlanta Hawks Promise Nicolas Claxton at #17?

Nicholas Claxton Atlanta Hawks 2019 NBA Draft (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nicholas Claxton Atlanta Hawks 2019 NBA Draft (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

A quick piece regarding the recent news regarding Nicolas Claxton and (potentially) the Atlanta Hawks in the 2019 NBA Draft.

The Atlanta Hawks hold a lofty six first round picks in the 2019 NBA Draft, and the team has nearly limitless options with what do with those selection when the draft occurs in a week’s time.

One player that has been on this writer’s radar for a good while now is University of Georgia big man Nicolas Claxton. Claxton was one of the few bright spots that the Bulldogs had in a rather last season, and he was something of a dark horse early second round pick… until teams actually found out how personable and talented he was in various pre-draft workouts and the 2019 NBA Draft Combine.

As such, Claxton rocketed up draft boards from a “steal” second-rounder all the way to mid-first round consideration, including going #17 overall to the Atlanta Hawks in a recent mock draft by Michael Visenberg of The Rookie Wire.

Combine that with the fact that Sam Vecenie of The Athletic reported that Claxton will no longer be conducting workouts with teams and you have the makings of a delicious idea that the Atlanta Hawks promised to draft Claxton with that #17 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Sure, naysayers might say that Claxton never worked out with the Hawks, so that seems unlikely, but workouts often have little to no bearing on a team’s draft plans, though narratives can often be shaped around if a player does or does not perform well in a team’s workout.

For the Atlanta Hawks, the team would certainly love to have a gifted defensive big man with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, an 8 percent block rate per KenPom in his sophomore year and a 70.3 percent shooting clip at the rim on over 100 attempts per Bart Torvik.

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Who knows exactly what the Atlanta Hawks will do in the 2019 NBA Draft, but drafting Claxton would be a terrific move to be sure.